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Chad Pinder’s slam lifts A’s to third straight win over Blue Jays

TORONTO — Everything seemed to be going the Blue Jays’ way. But with one swing of the bat, Chad Pinder sucked the life right out of the Rogers Centre.
After the A’s failed to capitalize with the bases loaded just a couple of innings earlier, Pinder made sure not to let that happen twice by blasting a 1-1 fastball from Tyler Clippard over the wall for a go-ahead grand slam in the eighth inning of Saturday’s 5-4 victory over the Blue Jays.
It was Pinder’s fourth home run of the season and the first grand slam of his big league career.
The lead up to Pinder’s blast, which was the climax of the five-run eighth, began with Matt Chapman and Khris Davis both reaching base to lead off the eighth. After Stephen Piscotty singled home Chapman to cut Toronto’s lead to 4-1, Jonathan Lucroy was due up with two outs and two on, but manager Bob Melvin decided to make a change.

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Jed Lowrie, who originally was given the day off to get a rest from the wear and tear of the turf field in Toronto, was summoned to pinch hit for Lucroy and drew a walk. While Pinder’s slam was the jackpot, Lowrie’s walk may have been just as important.
The eighth-inning offensive explosion by the A’s (24-22) bailed out Sean Manaea after the left-hander turned in an uncharacteristic outing.
When a pitcher keeps giving away free bases, it’s only a matter of time before those free passes come back to hurt them. That’s what happened to Manaea.
After years of struggling with his pitch command, Manaea seemed to have turned control into a strong suit this season. But the left-hander seemed to revert back to his old ways a bit, issuing a season-high three walks and also hitting a batter with a pitch.
Manaea got by without allowing a run after issuing the first two walks, but it was the hit by pitch to Dwight Smith Jr that sparked a big fifth inning for the Blue Jays (22-24) offense. Gio Urshula mashed a two-run homer off Manaea immediately after the hit by pitch, sparking what turned out to be four runs scored by Toronto in the fifth.
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Manaea finished the outing allowing four runs on five hits and three walks with two strikeouts over five innings of work. It was just the second time in ten starts this season Manaea has failed to go more than five.
Needing a lift from the bullpen, Emilio Pagan was sharp in his first game back. Recalled from the minors Friday, Pagan took over in the sixth and provided two scoreless innings of one-hit ball to create a bridge to Lou Trivino in the eighth and Blake Treinen in the ninth. Pagan had allowed at least one run in six straight outings before getting sent down last month.
Treinen turned in a scoreless ninth to record tenth save of the season.

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